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Help me to persevere with Cloud Atlas!

(85 Posts)
ipredicttrouble Sat 28-Sep-13 14:40:38

A number of friends have recommended this book so decided to start it this week. But, man, I'm struggling with it. Give me some positive words to inspire me to keep reading!

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:45:09

Sorry, I'm not meeting your expectations Cote hmm.

Didn't see the questions about my favourite books. They are The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Sep-13 12:28:01

That's OK, Hayley. Don't feel bad because you are not into analysing complicated books. A bit strange for an Eng Lit graduate, but we are all different smile

I guess this means you will never comment on that thread I mentioned four times already, but that's OK, too.

BelleOfTheBorstal Mon 30-Sep-13 12:29:05

To Kill a Mockingbird is an amazing book.
How are you getting on with Dream Number Nine, Pacific?

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:50:28

It is Belle, I can't wait until my DD is old enough to read it

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Sep-13 12:53:52

Luckily, you don't have to wait for very long.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Sep-13 12:55:50

Belle - Have your read Ghostwritten, too? I'm wondering if I should read Ghostwritten before Number9Dream, in the order they were written.

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:59:32

Absolutely Cote, I first read it aged 10 smile

I don't think 'Gatsby' is especially 'simple' tbh, although I do think it is deeply flawed. It actually gets better on re-reading, largely (imvh Eng Lit grad opinion!) as you can see the layers more clearly in it.

For me, the success of a book lies in whether or not it pulls me into the world of the book - I think Fitzgerald and Lee both succeed with that but, for me, Cloud Atlas didn't. It's nothing to do with how clever anybody is, or isn't - the experience of reading is about reader/text relationships and therefore will inevitably be down to personality and indeed personal opinion, as well as to the reader's prior reading experiences and so on, which will shape their interpretation of a text. Anybody interested might want to read around the idea of reader-response criticism.

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:45:45

Mostly agree with that. I do find Gatsbt simple in style to read but every time i read it I discover something else! smile

PacificDogwood Mon 30-Sep-13 19:58:42

I've started Number9Dream but was distracted about 25x in the first 25 pages - these darling children seem to need an awful lot of actual parenting, how v dare they wink.

See, I think Gatsby is overrated (I read it again just recently and understood a lot more about the rather adult relationships than I did at school), but other than that it kind of read like a movie script to me IYKWIM - I've not seen the movie btw.

To Kill a Mockingbird otoh is well-written and oh so very pertinent to its time and still today. A true classic.

Whether David Mitchell's body of work will stand the test of time, but for sheer inventiveness, complexity, referencing all sorts of stuff and relevence to some of today's big themes (what makes a person Good or Bad?, Is humankind doomed?, Do individual acts count in the greater scheme of things? etc) I think it is well above drivel.

As I confessed upthread, the only book I have been unable to read or make any significant inroads into has been Ulysses. I don't get it. I just don't. But I would not call it drivel - I can see its significance, but I don't like it. And there are too many book out there that I actually want to read for me to bother again grin.

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:20:27

Lots of people hate Gatsby, I can't explain what draws me in about it but I just adore it! It's my go- to book for whenever I'm fed up with life!

PacificDogwood Mon 30-Sep-13 20:39:41

Really?? grin
I don't hate it, but I just find it a bit depressing and meh, none of the main characters have redeeming features, its setting gives my nothing to identify with (too long ago, too rich) and the sexual peccadillos are just quite... yeuch.

Isn't it great that there are books for every taste?

nkf Mon 30-Sep-13 21:19:19

I don't get why people don't get Gatsby. I can see that the stylistic tricks of Cloud Atlas take some getting used to but Gatsby? It's so simple and elegant and clear. I suppose if you have to like characters as if they are real people...but even then, how can you not like Gatsby?

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:29:53

nkf - that's why I love it but many don't. I love a nice book debate but didn't particularly like the tone earlier. I love how literature divides as long as it's a positive debate! It shows the power of reading which I'm all about

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Sep-13 21:53:44

Well, I love a good book debate too, but you practically refused it. How many times did I ask you to comment on my notes in this thread? Why didn't you, if you like debating books? confused

emmelinelucas Mon 30-Sep-13 22:09:07

I really enjoyed it, in the end. I had 2 attempts but I just wasnt in the mood. An afternoon on my own, cat on knee without distractions drew me into the stories.
I just read without thinking IYKWIM and it just blew me away - i have dreamt about it !
I liked the way that the stories took me away somewhere else, that I couldnt have imagined myself.

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 22:09:17

I'm sorry Cote it's just all too intense, I really don't want to engage.

Catmint Mon 30-Sep-13 22:10:54

I have it as audiobook which works well.

Cooroo Mon 30-Sep-13 22:14:43

Loved it. Have read everything Mitchell has written. I can't see why the opening story should be hard work? The structure is challenging but you just keep reading surely?

I dunno I suppose if you don't like it, stop. Seems a shame though.

emmelinelucas Mon 30-Sep-13 22:16:39

Just read the thread again - Ulysses is my favourite book !
I just read and I sink into it.
It makes my heart sing.

But dont get me started on Wolf Hall.

I digress.

Back to Cloud Atlas...

Its not a pick up put down book is it ? Not one for reading on the bus.

Hayleyh34 Mon 30-Sep-13 22:41:54

Emmeline - I thought Wolf Hall was awful. Did you love it?!

I stopped myself from mentioning Wolf Hall in my earlier post. Just because something is taught on university courses and acclaimed by (some) critics, doesn't mean that everybody has to think it is a work of genius. It isn't.

emmelinelucas Tue 01-Oct-13 16:10:29

I have never been able to really read Wolf Hall. I dont think I like it, even though so many people have raved about it. The family tree at the front of the book puts me off.
It looks too difficult !
Have just now finished the Clare Balding book.
Liked it, but wont think about it again.
I didnt know anything more aout her when I finished.

emmelinelucas Tue 01-Oct-13 16:11:12


maillotjaune Tue 01-Oct-13 17:43:45

Emmeline Wolf Hall us 'easier' than Ulysses. I loved WH - actually I loved much of Ulysses too bit I found that much harder to read and really struggled with the section in the form of a play.

Actually, I would struggle to tell you what that was about at all. I don't think I have the background literary knowledge to get all of Joyce whereas I thought WH was a straightforward story told with an unusual voice.

I completely agree with PP (was it Remus? On phone so can't see now.) that just because something is taught to degree level that everyone should like it. I refuse to waste another minute trying to read Dickens, for example.

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